Online Dating Merchant Accounts: Complete Guide To Finding Your Match

If you operate an online dating business, having the proper merchant account is vital, as online dating merchant accounts fall into a high-risk category.

Whether your online dating business is brand new or you are an established company dealing with thousands of customers daily, the last thing you want to do is run into payment processing problems.

Here’s a quick infographic that explains why high-risk accounts are essential for dating merchants.

Dating merchants

Since you are considered as operating in a high-risk category, this means that you will be under increased scrutiny from acquirers and payment processors.

For example, if you experience excessive chargebacks and/or fraud in a given month, the processor can choose to terminate your account immediately and hold your funds for the chargeback liability period – at least 180 days. These terms and conditions will not be a surprise and can be found in your Merchant Processing Agreement (MPA).

However, the online dating industry is ever-expanding as we are seeing more and more people finding their matches online. In 2020, globally, online dating services brought in over 3 billion dollars of revenue, and according to Statista, the online dating industry is expected to bring in over $3.2 billion in global revenue in 2021.

There are currently over 8,000 dating websites operating on the planet, with over 2,500 coming from the United States. This number is increasing daily and shows absolutely no signs of slowing down.

Now that you have an understanding of where the online dating world is heading, let’s take a look at how to get you started with a merchant account and why it’s important to choose the correct payment processing company.

Applying For An Online Dating Merchant Account

Applying for a dating merchant account is exciting, as it means you are anticipating sales in the immediate future. That said, not all payment providers are created equally, and it is imperative to do thorough research before choosing your processor.

Fortunately, deciding on a payment service provider does not have to be a monumental task, as you can easily compare providers online before applying.

If you choose to use Corepay, we make the process as seamless as possible. Once you submit your application and are internally pre-approved for your high-risk merchant account, you will be assigned an account manager at Corepay.

Your account manager will be there to guide you through the full application process and answer any questions along the way. Our goal at Corepay is to always make applying for a merchant account an effortless and transparent process.

Below is a list of some of the dating industry subtypes that Corepay services, all of these fall under the merchant category code(MCC) 7273.

Dating Categories

Corepay is proud to offer the following for online dating merchant accounts:

  • Fast dating account approvals within 24-72 hours
  • No application, set up fees, or annual fees
  • Risk mitigation with Order Insight
  • Traditional chargeback alerts
  • Low-risk rates, as low as $99 per month and $.05 per transaction
  • Maximize approval ratios based on your target customer base
  • High-risk rates as low as blended 2.95%

When applying for an online dating merchant account, you will need the following:

  • Certificate or articles of incorporation
  • Shareholder certificate
  • Personal and business financial history
  • Processing history for the last six months (if applicable)
  • Copy of the driver’s license or passport and utility bill of local directors and shareholders holding more than 15% of ownership in the company
  • Organizational structure chart
  • Website or websites that pass website compliance requirements
  • Voided check/proof of settlement bank account(s)

Corepay is a payment service provider that has over two decades of experience in high-risk payments with many clients in the online dating industry.

Why Are Online Dating Merchant Accounts Considered High-Risk?

Being considered high-risk is not the end of the world.

However banks may view dating merchants as having adult-industry content and therefore automatically decline the merchant. This is usually due to the potential of having nudity on the dating site, which is typically the defining characteristic of an adult-coded merchant.

The main reasons that dating merchants will need to apply for high-risk merchant accounts are the following:

  • Higher number of chargebacks
  • Subscription billing/recurring transactions
  • Transaction laundering

Online Dating Chargebacks

Chargebacks in the dating industry happen frequently. While there are several reasons why chargebacks occur, the most common cause is when a member of an online dating site doesn’t like the services for which they are paying. This can cause an element of buyer’s remorse, and rather than seek a refund, they instead immediately file a dispute with their issuer, triggering a chargeback.

When this happens, it is known as friendly fraud – the merchant provided the service, so from your perspective, there is no reason that a customer can file a chargeback. Friendly fraud is rampant in the online dating industry for this reason.

In addition, online dating websites are popular amongst married individuals committing infidelity. Should their spouse stumble upon a transaction, their partner will often deny being on a dating website and file for a chargeback.

Many online dating websites offer exclusive deals or free trials to get their customers to sign up or go premium. There is often a terms of service page where customers agree to a monthly trial after the free membership or trial version is up.

Once this expires, despite explicitly agreeing to the terms, those customers will likely file a chargeback in an attempt to get their money back. Even more concerning is that, according to Deloitte, up to 91% percent of online consumers are said to knowingly accept the terms and conditions before asking for their money back.

Every chargeback equals lost revenue and depending on the number of disputes, your brand is ultimately what suffers most. Working with a payment service provider who understands your industry and knows which fraud tools should be utilized will significantly aid in lowering your risk overall, and Corepay can help with this.

Corepay offers chargeback mitigation and dispute management services to reduce the impact of chargebacks on your online dating business with our partner product, CB-ALERT.

Subscription Billing/Recurring Transactions

Most online dating transactions are going to be CNP transactions. These transactions notoriously have a higher number of chargebacks than card-present (CP) transactions simply because you can not as easily prove that the cardholder actually authorized the use of the card.

Recurring payments frequently occur in the dating niche as most websites offer a monthly subscription amongst their offerings.

Transaction Laundering

Dating websites can be used as fronts for different industries. Some of these other industries can either be illegal or not accepted by the given acquirer. An example of this would be someone using a dating website as a coverup for escort services.

Transaction laundering can be a form of money laundering used by criminals secretly to process their credit card payments.

So, how is this done? Transactions are laundered when a merchant submits credit card charges for a business other than the one that was approved by the acquirer. The “front” can, of course be a website rather than a classic brick and mortar store.

How Long Does It Take To Get Approved For A Dating Merchant Account?

Approval for dating merchant accounts can vary; however, at Corepay, we aim for fast approvals, with some even being the same day.

While the approval time will depend on a few different factors, the industry’s standard time is typically between three and seven days.

Some of this can also be determined by how prepared the merchant is. If you have everything you need when you contact a payment processor, this can speed up the entire process immensely.

Online Dating Merchant Account Security

Similar to eCommerce, online dating merchants face many challenges when it comes to security/safety. Corepay recommends the following to ensure that the highest security standards are upheld:

  • Online dating websites should partner with a payment service provider that makes security their priority
  • Corepay has a PCI-Level 1 secure payment gateway monitored around the clock, regularly tested for security issues
  • Our gateway, Solidgate, was built to support high volume and high-risk merchants specifically. There is full payment tokenization, which guarantees a high level of encryption and is particularly useful for recurring payments. Thus, customer data does not need storing in a separate, more cumbersome fashion, automatically adding more flexibility for merchants

Credit Card Processing For Dating Accounts


Over 40% of the U.S. population is currently using online dating services, so having a full spectrum of payment options that are fast and secure is an absolute must.

Corepay offers credit card processing for all major credit cards, including Mastercard, Visa, Discover, American Express, JCB, and the ever-growing Alipay and Wechat for your online dating business.

Over 70% of the United States currently owns and uses a credit card, with the average person carrying at least 3 cards. Outside of the United States, Canada currently leads the charge with over 82.5% using credit cards for transactions. Expect this number to continue to grow, as more countries shift towards going completely cashless.

Being able to process credit cards for your dating app or website is absolutely vital and there is simply no way around this.

Did Your Credit Card Processor Shut Down your Online Dating Merchant Account?

While there are several reasons that you could be searching for a payment service provider, one of the reasons could be that your previous processor shut down your account. When this happens, it can be extremely harmful to a business as they can no longer process payments.

Assuming a compliant merchant, the most common reason for this is that most processors specialize in low-risk payments and do not understand high-risk merchant accounts. These companies can choose to terminate your account immediately and hold your funds for the chargeback liability period – at least 180 days.

Should this have happened to your dating business, Corepay would love the opportunity to earn your business.

Dating Merchant Account Fees

When opening up a high-risk merchant account, fees will vary. Since dating is considered high-risk, it is likely you will pay more than a typical brick-and-mortar account. However, you will also be able to safely process more transactions with less fear of account closure and then having funds held.

Corepay waives application/setup fees and excessive early termination fees to maintain transparency.

Payment processing fees can dilute your profit margins. Our goal is to make sure your pricing is affordable and with a service-oriented processor that meets the needs of your dating merchant account.

Do Online Dating Apps Need A High-Risk Merchant Account?

Dating Apps

Absolutely. If you are an online dating app without an actual website, you will still likely fall into a high-risk category. You will therefore be processing hundreds to thousands of CNP transactions daily.

Like online dating websites, apps will need to process credit cards reliably, without the fear of having their merchant accounts terminated. It is common for dating apps such as Tinder, Match, PlentyofFish, and Bumble to experience many chargebacks. Because of this, these apps tend to fall into a high-risk category.

While even the largest companies in the dating space encounter payment issues, smaller/newer companies face even more challenges. These businesses, with less experience and economies of scale, are more likely to have their merchant accounts terminated.

If you are an up-and-coming dating app, make sure that your payment service provider specializes in high-risk merchant accounts.

Which Countries Generate The Most Revenue In Online Dating?

Online dating is most popular in the United States, with approximately 49 million people subscribing to dating websites in the year 2020. This equates to a population penetration rate of 14.72%.

Spain follows the United States with a 12.83% penetration rate, followed by France with 10.18%, China with 5.63%, and India with 2.74%.

Below is a breakdown of online dating revenue generated per country.

1) United States: 674.1 million
2) India: 453.9 million
3) China: 443.6 million
4) Germany: 99.1 million
5) France: 83.2 million
6) Spain: 41 million

While online dating is certainly growing in India and China, it is worth noting that the percentage of the population using these services is still rather low. As a result, we see a high potential for growth in these two countries in the coming years.

Online Dating By Country

How To Setup An Online Dating Merchant Account

To set up an online dating merchant account, you will need to follow the steps above to apply. The application and setup process will vary depending on which payment service provider you choose.

At Corepay, we do as much as we possibly can to make this a streamlined and seamless process. This includes not only the application process but assistance in integrating the merchant account with your payment gateway and ensuring that you are able to go live immediately after being approved.

Once you are approved and properly integrated, you can begin processing payments for your online dating business.

Getting started with a high-risk merchant account is something all dating websites and apps should do for processing payments. If your website starts to take off and you run into some problems with certain payment processors, it can be frustrating and stressful as you will not only have to wait to see funds, you also will have to figure out a high-risk solution.

Why Corepay Is Your Perfect Match

Corepay knows the online dating industry exceptionally well, having many years of experience in high-risk merchant accounts. This means we understand the risks associated with the online dating industry, while always offering bespoke service and security for our clients.

At Corepay, we want to help you get approved, stay approved, and grow your dating business into everything you dreamed.